Flyers-Thrashers Preview

Philadelphia’s latest winning streak ended on a frustrating
note. Facing the Atlanta Thrashers might make it tough for the
Flyers to bounce back.

The Eastern Conference-leading Flyers look to avoid a fifth
consecutive loss to the host Thrashers on Friday night.

Philadelphia (27-11-5) took a four-game winning streak into
Boston on Thursday, but allowed five third-period goals in a 7-5
loss and failed to extend its one-point lead over Pittsburgh in the
Atlantic Division.

“It was just one of those nights,” Flyers goaltender Brian
Boucher said of a game that featured five lead changes.

Philadelphia will now seek to avoid dropping consecutive road
games for the first time since October, but that could be easier
said than done.

The Flyers have dropped four straight meetings with the
Thrashers – two in Atlanta – following a 14-game winning streak in
the series. Philadelphia is 0 for 13 on the power play during its
current losing streak to the Thrashers.

Scott Hartnell, who has gone without a point in those four
losses, scored for the sixth time in five games Thursday night.

Danny Briere and Nikolay Zherdev each had a goal and an assist
in the loss to the Bruins. Briere has five goals and five assists
his last five games overall, but has failed to record a point in
his last three against the Thrashers.

Zherdev returned after missing four games with a leg injury.

Boucher allowed six goals – one more than he’d given up during a
three-game winning streak – at Boston. That could open the door for
rookie Sergei Bobrovsky to make his second start of 2011.

Bobrovsky, 16-6-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average on the
season, avoided a third straight loss by stopping 38 shots in a 5-2
win at Buffalo on Tuesday.

The Thrashers (22-16-7) have lost two in a row and seven of 10
following a 12-2-2 stretch.

Two days after a 9-3 home loss to Toronto, Atlanta was more
competitive in Sunday’s 4-3 overtime loss at Carolina.

“Right now we’re not playing the hockey we want to play,”
goaltender Ondrej Pavelec told the Thrashers’ official website. “We
have to come back to our hockey because I think it’s all about us.
Just focus on our team.”

Pavelec looks to get back on track after posting a 3.74 GAA
while losing five of eight. He stopped 44 shots in a 3-1 win at
Philadelphia on March 21 – his only career appearance against the
Flyers.

“You let in a bad goal or you have a bad game, you have to
forget,” Pavelec said. “You have to focus for the next game. I’m
just looking forward. If you win games, your confidence goes high
and the puck seems like a beachball.”

Brian Little scored twice and recently-named All-Star Tobias
Enstrom added two assists in Sunday’s defeat. Enstrom has a goal
and six assists in his last four games.

Fellow Thrashers All-Star Dustin Byfuglien will be facing the
Flyers for the first time since totaling three goals and three
assists against them in last season’s Stanley Cup finals while with
Chicago.